Sunday 13th October

Sunday 13th October

George Wallace

Sunday 13th Oct:

Summer has gone but although the weather is a bit grey and dismal at the moment, it is still mild and the river level remains an inch below normal. When the wind blows an absolute storm of leaves comes down, of course, which can cause a bit of bad language, but otherwise conditions are perfect for Autumn fishing.

Heavy rain was forecast for this morning but actually all we've got is a bit of fine drizzle, only just enough to make me decide to leave the log splitting until it stops. Plenty of other things to do in the meantime. If the heavy rain forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday is no heavier than this, it will barely damp the soil and certainly not cause a significant rise in river level. We shall have to wait and see.

A flush of fresh water would be nice and might bring in some fish on the Spring tides around the full moon on the 19th. However, with the salmon season finishing on Thursday, in only four days time, things are going to have to happen pretty damn quick if we are to turn the season into anything better than dire. Salmon have been very, very scarce since the excellent Spring run, so it will be interesting to stand on the bridges when we do get a bit of water and look for running fish. Fresh fish will certainly enter the river up until Christmas, even if we can't fish for them again until 3rd March.

But if salmon have been few and far between, the same cannot be said of the sea-trout. Low water levels to not deter these determined little travellers - famously described as being willing to run upstream over damp stones - and the river is full of them. They have not been easy to catch in the bright sun and clear water which have been such a feature of this Summer but they can be caught - and in daytime, too - if you adapt, experiment, and cast softly into the shade under the trees. It doesn't matter if the fly makes a bit of a plop, but if line and leader splash heavily, you can give up all hope of catching a wary customer like the sea-trout.

Still not convinced? Well even I have had a few, despite not fishing very much, and I was with Karl last Tuesday when he clocked up his 100th sea-trout for this year, all from the same Beat on Bangor waters. I failed on the sea-trout that day but had a couple of really good grayling and also hooked something very much bigger which bent the little rod double and showed about an acre of golden belly and red and black spotted flank ,as it rolled before spitting out the fly. Such is fishing! By the end of the day Karl's sea-trout tally had reached 102, his best season ever (not surprisingly!) so I reckon we can count on him, at least, renewing his membership next year!

Most of those fish were caught using tactics more normally associated with grayling, so with grayling up to a good 3lbs being landed this year, the end of the salmon season is no reason to hang up the rods. The river is full of fish and will be even fuller if we get a bit of fresh water to go with the high tides. Although we cannot fish for salmon or sea-trout after the 17th, no-one has told them they mustn't take a fly, so if you do hook one accidentally, please handle it most carefully and support it in the water until it is fit enough to swim away. I know most of us do that all year round, but it actually becomes a legal requirement once the Season has finished and is much easier if you use barbless hooks or nip down the barbs on other kinds.